UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Was Falkirk a false flag operation?

A BBC radio documentary this week confirmed an earlier report by the Guardian’s Seumas Milne that the allegations of impropriety in the Falkirk CLP made against Unite - which led to a Tory anti-union feeding frenzy and Ed Miliband’s panic measure to recommend the end of collective trade union affiliation to the Labour Party – are lacking in substance with little evidence in the body of the internal Labour Party report to substantiate the executive summary.

The fact that few in the movement, including Labour’s National Executive Committee, have seen the report gives rise to understandable concern that Miliband’s fundamental constitutional changes are built on a lie.

Yet major questions remain to be answered:

- Why did Tom Watson resign as Labour’s election campaign co-ordinator if the allegations are devoid of substance? 

- Why is Unite, as the apparent injured party in this case, unilaterally accepting Ed Miliband’s premise that the ‘status quo is not an option’ for the union Labour link when it arises from a knee jerk reaction to Falkirk and, more importantly given what's at stake, the 15 affiliated unions have not formed a collective view through the TULO organisation?

- Why is the Labour Party now pursuing ‘disciplinary action as a matter of urgency’ against 2 Unite members following a decision by the Scottish Police to take no action on the Party’s referral of the Falkirk case?

As Dave Prentis said in his statement on the situation it’s bad enough that the labour movement has been engulfed by the whole Falkirk saga at a time when rampant austerity policies are attacking the living standards of working people in Britain.

But the consequences of Miliband’s constitutional changes will impact on future generations of trade unionists and working people. It will remove unions as collective organisations from mainstream politics.

No amount of vacuous rhetoric about ‘doing things differently’ can mask the glee of the Blairite right at the implications of ending the arrangement which has served Labour so well since its inception - whereby a union is collectively affiliated to Labour through its democratically agreed rulebook and individuals who join a union on the basis of those rules can opt out of paying a political levy as per their statutory rights. Very few do.

So what’s the problem?